when you want to be known. ish.

When I was in the fourth grade, my family moved six hours away from my Indiana hometown. I started out as the shy girl and kept to myself. But in our new home in Iowa during the summer of 1988, shy got me nowhere. I quickly made friends with Jessica across the street and Sarah on the corner by being fun and happy. Accommodating. Pleasant. Able to blend. I was a human chameleon, and I didn’t even know it. I continued with that way of coping for many years. I didn’t realize I was coping; I just thought it was me. I’m laid-back. Things don’t bother me. I’m easy to get along with.

And I was, until I got hurt. And when I got hurt, rather than facing the hurt and being honest about the fact that it was there, I hid the hurt and hoped it would fade away. Instead, it seeped into my skin and came out in other ugly ways: passivity, disconnectedness, anger. I didn’t know how to share the hurt. And so it festered, I hid, and the mask got tighter.

Hiding behind fine isn’t always an indicator of fear or insecurity. Sometimes it just takes too much energy to be authentic. I want to turn my emotions off, put my hurt up on the shelf, set the glaze in my eyes and the half-smile on my face. Not necessarily because it feels safer, but because it’s just easier. And just like people who struggle with emotional eating or excessive exercise or any other type of addiction, I recognize my addiction to wanting to be left alone. I am addicted to the island of myself.

I remember listening to Brene Brown give a keynote speech at a conference last year, and she made a memorable distinction between being vulnerable and being intimate. I don’t believe we have to be honest and tell everyone how we are doing, the intimate details of the state of our hearts. But might we dare to be honest before God, to trust that he is wise enough and loving enough and intuitive enough to usher us into being vulnerable with certain people?

I recently thought more about these things as I wandered through the empty, brick streets of Seaside, FL. I share more about this at (in)courage this morning. Join me there?

Portions of this post are revised excerpts from Chapter 4 of my book, Grace for the Good Girl. You can read the first chapter here or  for the lowest price I can find right now, you can purchase the book for $9.99 at CBD. It is also available on Amazon, or at your local Barnes and Noble, Family Christian, or Lifeway bookstore. If you’ve already read the book, (or even if you haven’t) I would love to hear your thoughts or stories on this struggle between being intimate and being vulnerable.

10 opportunities to be a graceful superhero

While driving in traffic.

When you’re right, but they don’t know it.

On your birthday.

In your area of expertise.

When you’re running late.

When they’re doing it wrong.

While pregnant.

When you’re overlooked.

When the telemarketer calls.

At the DMV.

I know that grace is far more than biting my tongue when I want to lash out, more than not saying mean things, more than tolerating someone who is intolerable, more than just being nice, more than a tight-lipped patience. Grace is extending more than what is deserved and that never starts with me. Because that? Is impossible.

If I really believe this grace changes everything, then the secret to a life transformed is simple – receive the grace given to you in abundance, then pour it out on everything. And it isn’t fake, this outpouring of grace in the midst of the impossible. Being a hypocrite is not acting contrary to how you feel. Being a hypocrite is acting contrary to who you are. In Christ, you are graceful. Even when you don’t feel like it.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

1 Corinthians 15:10

good girls come full circle

The curtains in our bedroom are crumpled on the floor. The hardware gave way and shot slap out of the drywall. I tried to take it in stride, but standing there on a stool balancing one heavy-ended curtain rod while trying to get the other end to come out without scratching the ceiling, well. I cried a little. And clenched my fist tight like a toddler. Just one more thing not going right today.

I take close up photos of grass and plants and green living things because it helps me to remember to see. It is therapy to notice the beauty in the chaos of nature, to predict what happens next in the seasons even though each year it’s different, to believe in a God who holds everything in His hands.

I don’t like when things don’t go right mainly because I worship order and control a lot of the time. I want to do stuff right and to be right, not just as in having the right answer, but to have things go right by me. I put those curtains up in haste some time last year. And having them fall out of the wall is direct evidence of my domestic failure, like they’ve been waiting for me to have a bad day before they reveal their secrets about me.

I don’t really believe I’m a domestic failure. Not usually, anyway. But when the laundry piles and the baseboards stink and the curtains fall off the wall, the word failure comes to mind. I’ve circled around healing from my good girl ways for many years now, but there are still triggers that bring out the lies. And hearing them feels like finding a note from an ex-boyfriend. You aren’t attached to him anymore, but when you read the note suddenly you’re back there in college, standing in the middle of 15 years ago, feeling the sting of the break up. The feelings are real, but they are based on something that isn’t. Shadows. Remnants. Untruths. That’s what it’s like to hear a lie in your head.

We carry around those fragments of untruth with us everyday. And when things happen all in a row, it dislodges the crazy and even though we know the truth, the lie feels more true at the time. We have to choose what we’ll believe, then. It doesn’t feel very romantic or mystical to say it that way, choose what you’ll believe. But I do believe we have a choice, even when it all goes wrong.

I recently talked a bit about that choice with the women from Full Circle in Canada. I can’t embed the video here, but here’s a peek.

Here is a link to the interview if you’d like to watch. (This is a link to the entire program. Interview begins at 6:41. Ish). Would love to hear from you this morning – can you identify any triggers in your life that cause your crazy to come out?

the deeper story

Today I’m writing at A Deeper Story. When I was in high school, that kind of blog would have scared and intimidated me. Deeper Story? Your deeper stories might be scandalous, heartbreaking, dark and brooding. I couldn’t relate with them, didn’t understand them, and generally wanted to pretend they didn’t exist. Back then, your deeper stories highlighted the fact that I didn’t think I had one. Continue reading at A Deeper Story and enter to win a book on the last stop on the blog tour…

why the p?

One day, I decided to write a book. So I did and then, someone decided to publish it. (Don’t you love how easy that all sounds? Carry on). So we had this book and I realized how wonderful it was that I married a man who had the last name Freeman. Because isn’t that nice? Freeman? And my book is all about living free. How great, right?

As it turns out, I’m not the first Emily Freeman who decided to write a book that someone decided to publish. In fact, the first Emily Freeman has a lot of books. I have one book. And so, it was decided that in order to differenciate between her lot-of-books and my one book, I would need to include my middle initial on my book. The p was born.

Rewind twenty years to the bedroom my sister and I shared together. We had lots of pet peeves like walking barefooted on wood and burping in public and using spoons. We dislike spoons. Have I not mentioned that here before? No?

Well, you see, when you use a spoon on something for which a spoon was not meant, there leaves behind a thin trail of … film. Yes, film. (insert barf noise).

Like, for example, when you order a cake-type item at a restaurant. They clear the table of all dinner-type things (goodbye, my lovely fork!) and bring out the dreaded spoon. And you take your first cake-bite and behold and lo, there is film on your spoon.

Now before you get all hyper in the comments, yes we use spoons for cereal and soup. And also ice cream, although if we could manage it, we would use a fork for that too.

Anyhow, there are silly things that  still are used to be peevish to us, and one of them is spoons. Another? Words that begin with the letter P. You know the ones: pimple, peruse, perforated, perfunctory, other words that I’m not sure I want to say on my blog, purse, pregnant, period. You get the idea. Still, I don’t mind my middle name but it does begin with a P. And that is somewhat unfortunate, but that is why there’s a P on my book.

If you can guess what the P stands for, I’ll totally send you a book. With a P on it. Because it’s all I’ve got to give is why. Or if you’ve got a super strange and quirky thing like a dislike of spoons, I want to hear about that too, because that’s just fun.

The photos are from the book party my mom and sister hosted for me, for friends, the book (and the P) this weekend at her house. Visit her place to see more! I’ve also posted them all to Facebook.

Update :: Thanks for playing! The winners have been announced. But I’d still love to hear about those pet peeves because those? Are hilarious.